Hunger is not a game – It’s a reality in Western Washington

Rep. Rick Larsen and Food Lifeline visit the Everett Farmer’s Market this Sunday to discuss healthy solutions to hunger

Rick Larsen

Port of Everett –Healthy solutions to hunger will be the topic of discussion this Sunday, August 26, at the Everett Farmer’s Market as U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., tours and visits with farmers and local businesses.

As part of a statewide effort to promote effective and innovative solutions to alleviating hunger in local communities, Larsen will be joined by representatives from Seattle-based Food Lifeline at 11 a.m. for a casual walking tour to see first-hand the mutual benefits between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and local farmers’ markets. The market is located at 1600 W. Marine View Dr. along the waterfront in the Port of Everett.

A nationwide government assistance program, SNAP – formerly known as the Food Stamp Program – is designed to help low-income households pay for food.  In Washington state, SNAP is more commonly referred to as the Basic Food Program.

SNAP/Basic Food benefits have traditionally been used to purchase a variety of healthy options including breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, cheese, milk and dairy products, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, seeds, plants, and other food items that are not prepared hot foods.

As the nation and individual states seek to expand on addressing the hunger need with innovative solutions, the use of SNAP/Basic Food benefits at local farmers’ markets is increasing in popularity.

In addition to putting dollars back into local economies and in the pockets of local businesses and farmers, low-income Washington families on the SNAP/Basic Food program now have immediate access to purchase fresh, healthy, and locally grown produce during the spring, summer and early fall seasons.

This includes items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds and plants, edible herbs and other nutritious food as available from participating farmers and businesses.

This vital source of revenue is key to local growers.  In 2011 alone, the Everett Farmer’s Market received approximately $48,000 in revenue from the use of SNAP/Basic Food purchases.

“The benefits are mutual and three-fold,” says Gina Clark, Director of Public Policy for Food Lifeline.  “Money spent is retained in the community, small businesses and state farmers are supported, and hungry families are linked directly to nutritious and self-sustaining food options.”

With more than 1 million Washingtonians relying on SNAP/Basic Food to support their households, the opportunity to access healthy food sources in their local communities is critical.

“Nationally 80 percent of households receiving SNAP benefits include a senior, child or person with a disability,” notes Clark. “That is why it’s vital that we look at establishing viable connections between families and their food sources, such as farmer’s markets, which directly serve the local communities where low-income families work and live.”

Media are invited to join Rep. Larsen and Food Lifeline for Sunday’s walking tour. For more information, contact Gina Clark at 206-545-6600 or 425-268-1156 (cell).


About Food Lifeline
Food Lifeline feeds hungry people. By collecting nutritious food from restaurants, grocery stores, farmers and manufacturers and delivering it to more than 300 food banks across Western Washington, they put more than 750,000 meals a year on the tables of people in need. For more information, visit